Posts Tagged With: structural home fix

Structural Home Fixes Part 3: How to Repair a Sump Pump

How to Repair a Sump Pump

In part three of our series that tackles structural home fixes, we explore how to repair a sump pump, what could arguably be called the most important piece of equipment in your home … especially if you have a ground water issue underneath the building.

What is a Sump Pump?

Usually installed in the lowest part of a house, such as a basement or crawlspace, a sump pump sits in a specially constructed hole called a sump pit. As water flows into the sump pit from the ground outside or even during a heavy rain storm, the sump pump is activated by the incoming water level, and starts to push the moisture out and away from under the building to the outside, which prevents flooding and keeps the basement or crawlspace dry. Without one, ground water could flood the area or your whole house.

Typically, keep a close eye on the function of a sump pump, because the best repair is consistent maintenance.

Types of Sump Pumps

Pedestal Pumps

  • One of the most common
  • The motor is mounted on a small pedestal
  • A hose or pipe extends down to the bottom of the pit
  • Activated by a float switch

Submersible Pumps

  • Smaller unit that sits in the bottom of your sump pit
  • Water is sucked up through the bottom of the pump by an impeller
  • Activated by a float or bubble switch

Ejector Pumps

  • Good for use in crawlspaces made with a pea gravel floor
  • Capable of ejecting small debris as well as water
  • Constructed of cast iron and a larger ejector port instead of the standard size

Easy Fixes and Repairs 

Drainage Pipe Freezeswhich causes flooding. To avoid freezing at the end of the pipe, dig a hole at least a foot deep around the end of the drainage pipe and fill it to the top with fine gravel. Water will move through it without freezing.

Sump Pumps Clogs which results in flooding. Clogging depends on the ground water; if it’s full of silt, clay or debris, it will eventually gunk up the intake screen. Schedule a good cleaning of the screen and the intake area to remove any clogging matter before a clog happens – every few months or so, if these conditions exist.

Loses Electricitywhich causes flooding because the sump pump stops running. Ensure it never loses power installing a battery-powered or water-pressure backup power source for the sump pump. Basically, the backup power source charges from the AC power during normal power. If that power goes out, the backup source will kick on and operate the sump pump.

Stops Working which results in, you guessed it, flooding. This can happen if the pump burns the motor out from overwork, due to a frozen drainage pipe or it’s overwhelmed by a big flood or the equipment is just old. You can call in a professional for help, but the best thing to do here is to replace it.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home fixes and repairs. From portable generators to dehumidifiers, ventilators and carpet fans, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Structural Home Fixes Part 2: How to Repair the Gutters

How to Repair Your Gutters

Taking care of home improvement projects like structural fixes or replacement before they become emergencies is one of the ways homeowners are protecting their property as well as their financial investment. In part two of our series that tackles structural home fixes, we explore how to repair the gutters.

Not only do April showers bring May flowers, they give you first-hand knowledge of how your rain gutters and downspouts hold up to moisture. Not to mention, keeping your home, garage and basement dry. Your gutters could have holes, leaky corners or are sagging or have pulled away from the house –and all of these scenarios need to be taken care of, extending their life and efficiency.

Patching Holes

Whether rust eats into a gutter, or a falling branch punctures it or a well-meaning do-it-yourselfer drills one intentionally, holes need to be patched as soon as they’re spotted, so they don’t get any bigger. Roofing cement, a sheet metal-repair patch or other patch that matches the gutter material will do perfectly. Before applying any patch, clean the area around the hole with gloved hands and a stiff-bristle wire brush. Cut out any rust with aviation snips.

Fixing Leaky Joints

Standing water will eventually seep through gutter seams. After relieving the gutter of the water and letting it dry out, brush clean and apply silicone-rubber caulking compound along the once-leaking seams both inside and out. If the gutters are showing their age, however, replace them with new.

Un-Sagging Gutters

The same standing water causing leaks can cause gutters to sag. The weight of the water causes the hangers to loosen. Gutters should drop about 1/4 inch for every 10 feet of run toward the downspouts, so check the gutter slope using a level. Some gutters are held in place with large spikes in tubular sleeves, called ferrules. To fix a sag, either replace or re-seat the hangers. Use a hammer or screwdriver to drive the long spike or long screw into solid wood. To tighten clip-style gutter hangers, lift the roofing material along the eaves and refasten the hangers to the sheathing.

Stopping an Overflow

Gutters that overflow during a heavy rain storm could be too small to handle a large volume of runoff, or more likely they could be clogged with leaves and debris. If this is the case, by all means give the gutters a good cleaning. Learn more by reading our blog, See How Easily You Can Rid Your Gutters of Dirt and Grime.

Don’t Forget About the Downspouts

Gutter downspouts are important extension of the gutter system. They could loosen away from the gutter or between sections or become clogged with debris.

When you’re cleaning the gutters, clean the downspouts, too – taking the sections apart. Refasten them by pushing the sections together fastening them with two 3/8-inch #8 galvanized sheet metal screws. Drill pilot holes if needed. The downspout anchor straps should be secure to the wall.

Avoid Runoff Water Pools

If water pools at the bottom of the downspout, it will soak into the soil and make its way right into the foundation. Direct rainwater away from the house using a downspout diverter, which fits onto the bottom of the downspout and carries water several feet away.

The downspout can also run into a dry well that’s about two to four feet wide and three feet deep. Secure underground drainage pipes that slope to the dry well, keeping moisture away from the house’s foundation. You can also modify a 55-gallon drum that’s buried at the end of a downspout and punctured with holes. Before using any one of these solutions, check local building codes.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home fixes and repairs. From ladders to drills and other equipment, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Structural Home Fixes Part 1: How to Fix or Replace a Roof

How to Fix or Replace Your RoofHomeowners today are making measured, timely decisions about their homes that take care of improvement projects like structural fixes or replacement before they become emergencies. In this way, homeowners are protecting their property as well as their investment, financial and otherwise. In part one of our series that tackles structural home fixes, we explore options for fixing or replacing your roof.

Your first decision should be based on a thorough inspection of the roof to determine whether simple patching or repair can repair leaks or other damage you may find – or if it is better for the life of your home to replace the roof entirely. Before the inspection, hire a professional cleaning service or rent a pressure washer to clean the roof, especially if it has moss or a fair amount of debris on its surface. This allows for you to better evaluate the actual condition of the roof. Continue the inspection inside the attic, if possible – especially if you find evidence of leaks.

General Roof Repair

If you find damage to shingles resulting from wind, weather or fallen limbs, it is usually easy and inexpensive to fix:

  • Inspect under the shingles, making sure the roof deck is sound.
  • Remove any worn, torn or damaged shingles and replace with new ones. It’s always a good idea to store new shingles that match the existing roof just for this type of repair. However, you can have the building contractor order matching shingles for you, or you can go with a new one, even if it’s not an exact match.
  • Consistently replacing worn shingles could extend the life of the roof by 10 years or more.

If you find evidence of leaks, such as discolored felt paper under the shingles, other water stains and especially rotted wood around plumbing boots, vents, chimneys, windows, dormers or anything else that is built through the roof, you can still make a fix:

  • If the leak is due to condensation on cold “shiners,” nails that have missed their mark, clip it with a side-cutting pliers.
  • If a plumbing vent is torn, rotted, cracked or has broken seams, replace it with a new one. If the vent is in good shape, but nails are missing or pulled free, replace them with the rubber-washer screws used for metal roofing systems. Be careful when removing shingles around the fix so they can be reused.
  • To repair around windows or dormers, make sure the area is still sealed using a putty knife. Dig in to reveal any old, crumbling caulk. Remove all of it and re-caulk using a silicon latex caulk. Replace any cracked, rotting or missing siding, overlapping the step flashing by at least two inches.
  • If the flashing around a chimney is rusted through, either slip new flashing under the old or cut what’s called a saw kerf into the mortar and install new flashing.
  • If the step flashing along walls is rusted through, replace it with new flashing. If the flashing has come loose, exposing the wall, re-position it and re-nail to the roof.
  • If you find tiny holes in any shingles or in the roof, do not inject caulking into them. Fix the holes by using flashing.

When It’s Time for a New Roof

  • If your roof is more than 20 years old – the projected life of any roofing surface – it’s time for a new roof.
  • If just part of the roof is significantly showing its age, and you live in a severe weather area, replace the entire roof.
  • If you find evidence of a worn or damaged roof deck, do a replacement, so it too can be repaired or in some extreme cases, replaced.

Do the Job Right

Save yourself the hassle of continuous interruptions to the project by having these tools and materials on hand before you start:

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home fixes and repairs. Learn more by reading our blog, Repair and Prepare Your Shingles and Windows for Winter in 6 Easy Steps and if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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